In conversation with: Pete Mears – Twelve Architects

3rd April 2019

In December, London South Bank University opened the doors of its new Passmore Centre, transformed from the Passmore Edwards Library into a new facility to support apprenticeships, skills and training in the borough of Southwark. This £2.8m project involved the extensive alteration, extension and refurbishment of the existing Grade II listed building, as well as the installation of a new lift, ME & PH services as well as external works. The complexity and scale of the project meant it was vital to have an experienced project team who could work seamlessly together.

Our Passmore refurbishment saw us partner with Twelve Architects to bring the project through to completion. As part of our recent Education Sector focus we caught up with Pete Mears, Architectural Assistant at Twelve Architects, to reflect on the project and our work together.

1. What were your goals for the project?

Our work on the project revolved around creating the best learning environment for staff and students and facilitating that relationship. As such, our designs focused on open layouts, to avoid segregation and create the calming effect that comes with open, uncluttered spaces. We also wanted to create sustainable spaces which could fulfil a multiplicity of purposes – such as the ability to host events – so as to future-proof the building.

On a personal level for our firm, we were keen to gain exposure in the London Higher Education Sector and showcase our capabilities when it comes to listed buildings and sensitive refurbishments.

2. Who made up the team and what was your personal involvement?

The team from Twelve Architects who were involved on the project included Associate Director Lorraine Stoutt Griffith, Associate Rob Shannon and myself as Architectural Assistant. My role involved assisting our Director Matt Cartwright with onsite co-ordination and project drawings, considering subsidence and FFE.

3. What was your experience working with ITC?

ITC is great at being able to react quickly and provide solutions when a project encounters unforeseen obstacles (a common occurrence when working with listed buildings) or changes to the original plan are required. Passmore required some complex co-ordination between ourselves and ITC when it came to MME but a system of open and honest communication ensured everything progressed smoothly.

4. What was the outcome of the project?

The Passmore project was a resounding success, receiving excellent feedback from the client. Even those not involved on the project can see the complete transformation of the building, particularly evident at the basement level. It’s wonderful to have created such a fantastic new space and facility for LSBU which will help the careers of many young people in the future.